Across Cholatse

7 November 2012

Beyond Pheriche the landscape is characterized by lack! Lack of air lack of trees lack of habitation ((although some hardy folk live up here though I wonder how many were permanent).

The path continued through fields and dry stoned walls up an incline and then crossed the river and up a major incline. I followed a young Sherpa girl probably barely 10 and marveled at her spirit as she drove several exhausted Yaks mercilessly up the hill. The oxygen deprived animals laden with bags would take a few steps and then sit down, whilst another would wander off and feed off some grass. All the time she would go from one to another shouting, cajoling and judiciously using her stick. I was struck at how at one either situation she was how she rebelled in the responsibility and purpose and how the physicality and harshness of the work and environment were not a problem. I compared this to the life of ten year olds back home and questioned if there were lessons for us. Finally I noted the lack of parental supervision.

The top of the incline was special place.. A flat windswept hilltop which was shrouded in cloud, but punctuated with many impressive stone cairns and many plaques which bore inscriptions to fallen climbers. A kind if spontaneous series of shrines to people of the mountains . Although sad it seemed so appropriate. I stopped and photographed here but it was too cold a place to hang around for long. Nevertheless a powerful and poignant place.

From there downhill around a corner and into sunshine and also a pretty yet harsh landscape and amazing views of the biggest mountains and highest glaciers. We were approaching the roof of the world,wow!

By now you could walk the pace you walk but no faster: there was but one gear only as the air was so thin. But here, I was in the sun again by a river and I spent time photographing some of the exquisite alpine plants that live in the grasslands with the peaks beyond.

Lobouche. A few lodges and homes affording amazing views of the Kumbu morraine and the high mountains of the area, though even here Everest was largely obscured. great views of Pamore and Nuptse. Pamore a torpedo shaped mountain has a beauty in its symmetry . I liked the openness and simplicity of this place . The air was clear the sun strong and there was always a chill to the air. It felt clean! So what better place to wash my clothes Nepali style in a giant alpine concrete pond with icy water and soaping them on a concrete slab with the local women. Laundry was quite an occasion for the women, something done daily and was obviously hugely social. They were in no hurry! And who could blame them here amongst these magnificent mountains.
We stated here for two days to aclimatise before pushing onto Gorak Shep.

I am away oversees for three weeks mainly for family reasons. I will visit some interesting spots on the way and hope to post the odd blog. So follow progress here!